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Flat Council Support fee coming to your unit?

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The Great Rivers Council's Executive Director Doug Callahan said last week that a decline in fundraising revenues — which are currently 19.1 percent of the council's budgeted income — has led to the creation of a new "flat council support fee."

The Great Rivers Council covers Boy Scouts of America districts in northern, northeastern and Mid-Missouri, including the Five Rivers District that includes Cole, Osage, Gasconade, Moniteau and Maries counties.

The $125 council support fee is a per unit fee. Callahan said that means it applies to Cub Scout packs, Scout BSA troops or Venture troops — which are the units.

The $125 will be multiplied by how many members of a unit there are at the beginning of the year — when units are rechartered in December for 2020 — and that's how much money the pack or troop will be expected to contribute in total to the council.

:confused:

for more confusion, here's source:

http://www.newstribune.com/news/local/story/2019/may/21/local-boy-scouts-of-america-units-to-pay-council-support-fee/779620/

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Ok, I'm stone axe dumb on what is being stressed.  First, I don't want to get started on how scouting is turning into a rich scouts game.  So much is being stressed over fund raising that no emphasis is placed on the program to deliver.  Most scouters are tired of pushing popcorn and rightly so.  Our council does a fund raising card in addition to popcorn.  I met a new cub parent at the local scout office and they were in sticker shock after buying her cub a uniform.  As a scout, I had to sell "Scout-o-Rama" tickets and that was it.  We rarely ever went camping outside the one council camp.  Just as we grow with girls and the program, we start dipping into pockets for even more money.  I'd hate to see what a family with 2 or 3 scouts pays for one year of scouting.  If we in scouting continue to just raise prices without any checks and balance, we will lose our program.  I'd hate to start selling cookies.  

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Smoke and mirrors! Untangling this:

Quote

For 2020, Callahan also said the scouting registration rate for youth will increase from $42 to $57 — and all of that fee, which he said does apply to individual members and families, does go to the national office.

Out of the $57, $33 goes directly to the national office, while the remaining $24 is initially held by the council before it's later billed to the national office, Callahan said.

The registration fee increase is news to me.

But it looks like per continuing scouts:

  • $33 registration
  • $24 held by council then billed to national.
  • $125 council dues (who are we trying to fool here?)
  • $1-$8 rechatering fee depending on the size of the unit ($40 divided by # of scouts).
  • $2 unit accident insurance. (I'm just projecting costs here.)

So that's $185 per renewing scout per year. Half of summer camp.

Perhaps scouts should quit in December and join in January to dodge the fee.

 

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Ours is $200/scout. I've been told that I could also charge $40-$60 per person for a camporee and the extra would go to the council. I not so politely said no.

The problem in our council is that those in charge really have no idea how to run an organization. Business 101: There's no point in having a budget if you can't track it. In other words, they have no idea where they're spending money. They have staff making North of $85k a year that do nothing. Lot's of money is getting sucked out of camps, the real profit centers, to pay for these people. It used to be that lots of people donated money. That's over and nobody knows how to deal with it. So they're raising fees. Our DE's regularly don't get paid at the end of the year. A few years ago they took all new DE's and showed them how to get food stamps..

The underlying issue is the BSA pays really poorly to new hires at the lowest level and then only promotes from within. So, DE's are mostly those that couldn't find a job elsewhere. Granted, there are a few that really believe in scouting and are doing it even though they're not making much but the majority that I see have little to no experience in scouting or how to run an organization. That's the pool of expertise they have.

My apologies to anyone that works for the BSA that I've offended. Maybe other councils do a better job. I suspect they just live closer to more companies that donate more.

 

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15 minutes ago, MattR said:

The underlying issue is the BSA pays really poorly to new hires at the lowest level and then only promotes from within. So, DE's are mostly those that couldn't find a job elsewhere. Granted, there are a few that really believe in scouting and are doing it even though they're not making much but the majority that I see have little to no experience in scouting or how to run an organization. That's the pool of expertise they have.

My apologies to anyone that works for the BSA that I've offended. Maybe other councils do a better job. I suspect they just live closer to more companies that donate more.

 

Ah the song of my people. 

TBH, I don't think the starting salary is that bad if you're not terrible at managing money. The real kicker is promotions and raises. That's where a lot of good people leave because they don't want to wait 4-8 years to get a decent, family supporting position in a field they actually want. No body wants to be a ground pounding DE forever. 

I could go on and on about Pro life, but I digress for now. 

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Personally, what the heck is the $24 "held by the council then billed to national"??

Also, charging units a "council support fee" is such BS.... 

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What's most needed I think is a lot more transparency about finances from both councils and national. 

There may have been a time when corporate and community donations funded a good part of the council costs, but I suspect that for many if not most councils those days are past.  Absent donations what other revenues does a council have?  There's whatever they charge for summer camp, which for most councils is probably going to be a break even operation at best, if they're lucky summer camp will fund the camp for the whole year.  After that there's maybe a meager profit from a scout shop plus some tack on fees for activities like camporees, training sessions, etc.  But all of that together would barely keep the lights on let alone par for staff to do recruiting, unit service, organizational work et al.

If I understand the article correctly, the change that's being made in that council is that each unit has to come up with $125 per scout but will now keep all of their popcorn profits.  Since popcorn revenue is generally  1/3 to the company and 2/3 profit that would mean that if you want to fund this simply through popcorn each scout would need to sell about $187 in popcorn each year.  I suspect the SE is correct that this will be a problem for the 20% of units that don't currently participate in council fundraising, but most other units will be OK.  

I don't know that this is the best way to handle this, but I've always thought that most councils not charging a per scout fee that stayed in house was probably short sighted, and it's the shock of this transition that is going to be the biggest problem.  

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and the money has to come from somewhere.

One thing not clear here is whether FOS funds raised in the units will also count towards the $125 fee.

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During the discussions of bringing gays scouts into the BSA, many suggested that the membership would grow dramatically. Several posters pointed out that no scouting organization ever improved their numbers with the member policy change, and BSA followed the trend. However, the BSA has always received a lot of support from alumni donations, of which I know fell dramatically. But, I'm curious if the many corporate sponsors who stopped donating because of the gay issue ever started giving again. Or, was the no gay adults policy, then the no girl policy, then now family scouts,  and now the no atheist policy conveniently holding them back.

Anyone know if National has talked to the Canadian Scouts to learn how they recovered after loosing almost 2/3 of their membership and donations. 

Barry

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I really like our local DE - but have come to the realization that we don't really need as many of them as we have.  In our area, our DEs largely offset the fact that our district volunteer teams have dwindled.  Our district and councils could opreate at about a third the staff.

So, rather than drive down membership by increasing costs to Scouts, I think it's time for councils to revisit the DE model.  Let districts either shrink or deal with finding volunteers to make them successful.

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It's time to revisit the franchise model so units have the option to choose which council they want to be in.

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10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I really like our local DE - but have come to the realization that we don't really need as many of them as we have.  In our area, our DEs largely offset the fact that our district volunteer teams have dwindled.  Our district and councils could opreate at about a third the staff.

So, rather than drive down membership by increasing costs to Scouts, I think it's time for councils to revisit the DE model.  Let districts either shrink or deal with finding volunteers to make them successful.

This is actually an interesting theory I have thought about too, but in a different way. I think one of the big reasons we are seeing the rise of "Mega Councils" (ie. Chicago, Michigan, St. Louis, Indy) is to create a larger corporate structure of Professionals to offset the lack of Volunteers in the BSA now. 

In a lot of places, DE's are just trying to keep afloat sinking Districts. 

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Posted (edited)

Sadly my district is dieing. With the various membership changes over the past few years, we have lost 3 packs and 1 troop. We will lose the 2 LDS units at the end of year. One remaining pack is failing fast, and my old pack is 1/3 of the size it use to be. Several troops are barely surviving, including my own.

We lost a lost a lot of volunteers, and folks are not replacing them. Folks with history with the BSA no longer have interest. Scouting may survive, but it will take years to recuperate in my area. We share a DE, but we may be merging since we have no district chair and little to no representation at the council level.

Forgot to add

A small, dedicated cadre of professionals are indeed needed. They need to live in your community, know the folks, and recruit volunteers who are willing to to the work. It has been a endless cycle since the membership policy changes occured: Lose volunteers and Scouts, share DE who has 2 different districts and cannot focus full attention on either, fewer Volunteers shoulder more responsibility and burning out causing them to quit, ad nauseum.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
Forgot to add

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Scouts and adults in our council already pay a per member council fee. It would be a real slap in the face if they then charged a unit fee on top of that. Especially since they charge us $40 to process the charters  (which are done by us electronically before being turned in with fees)

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Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2019 at 8:16 AM, carebear3895 said:

This is actually an interesting theory I have thought about too, but in a different way. I think one of the big reasons we are seeing the rise of "Mega Councils" (ie. Chicago, Michigan, St. Louis, Indy) is to create a larger corporate structure of Professionals to offset the lack of Volunteers in the BSA now. 

I don't see fewer distinct and council volunteers.  I see volunteers everywhere in scouting.  There are other driving reasons for mergers and larger councils / districts.

  • Membership losses.  The pure number of scouts is half what it was 15 years ago.  Our district merged ten years ago or so and membership is still smaller than it was in 2004.  The numbers just are not there anymore.
  • Online resources.  Units just don't need as much direct support due to online resources.  Training is mostly online and not requiring the large basic training events.  Schedules, calendars, communication is all online.  It makes round table and direct support less critical.
  • Money losses.  Donations are way down compared to 15 / 20 years ago.  United way, corporations, community FOS and family FOS just are not donating like they did in the past.  
  • Demand for more opportunities.  Larger councils and districts can provide more resources.  Our council's merger doubled the number of available camps and allowed the council more opportunities due to their size. 
Edited by fred8033

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Last January, I turned in my registration as "Council Committee".  I was hit with a $75 fee.  I was told it included a new "Council Program Fee".  I was floored and asked if all adults now had to pay that, or just Council/District folks.  I was told it was for ALL adult registrations.  No wonder units can't find "volunteers" to be Den Leaders and Committee people.  Now that Mrs. Scoutldr and I are fully retired and living on 30% of our former income, I thought I would be able to devote more time to Scouting, maybe as volunteer summer camp staff, but I'm not sure I can afford it.  My nearly 60 year tenure with this Council may be coming to an end.

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